Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat, Alaska

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Mark Begich, the Democratic Anchorage mayor, has defeated Sen. Ted Stevens in a closely contested, see-saw race for the United States Senate, according to Associated Press projections.

The Division of Elections has almost concluded an initial count of absentee, early in-person and questioned ballots Tuesday. That, coupled with the numbers culled from Election Day, gave Begich a 3,724-vote lead over Stevens, the 40-year Republican incumbent, with about 2,500 ballots left to count.

Update 2:

Alaska elections Director Gail Fenumiai said 2,500 overseas ballots remain to be counted.

She said officials hope to make an official announcement during the week of December 1 -- and that Stevens would then have five days to request a recount. - CNN

Original Post:

After another round of counting incoming ballots, Mark Begich is running away with a win in Alaska. He now leads by 2,374 3,724 votes. Though there are still votes to be counted, the remaining amounts are small and come from areas which are likely to break even or Democratic, meaning that Begich will hold on to his lead and thus be the next United States Senator from the country's 50th 49th state.

According to Ballotpedia, Alaska has no mandatory recount law. However, a defeated candidate may request a recount within five days of the state canvass:

There are no automatic recount provisions in Alaska election law, except in the event of a tie vote for two or more candidates for the same office for which there is to be elected only one candidate.

A recount may be requested by a defeated candidate or ten voters within a particular precinct or state house district. Recount requests must made by filing an application with the elections director within five days of the state review of the votes, except that requests for a recount of votes cast for governor and lieutenant governor must be filed within three days after completion of the state review.

The elections director fixes the date of the recount to be held within three days after the receipt of a recount request regarding an election for governor and lieutenant governor and within five days after receipt of a recount request regarding any other office, question, or proposition.

The director, along with additional personnel he or she employs for assistance, reviews all ballots to determine which ballots were properly marked and which ballots are to be counted in the recount and checks the accuracy of the original count, the precinct certificate, and the review. The director also counts absentee ballots received before the completion of the recount. The recount must be completed within ten days.

If the difference between the number of votes cast was 20 or less or was less than 0.5% of the total number of votes cast for the two candidates for a contested office, the state bears the cost of the recount.

Otherwise the application for recount must include a deposit of $300 per precinct, $750 per state house district, and $10,000 $15,000 for a state recount request. If as a result of the recount a candidate is declared elected who is not the candidate that received the original election certificate, or the total vote in favor of the candidate or issue on the application is 4% or more than the vote reported by the state review of the election, the deposit is refunded.
Meanwhile, Bob Bird, the independent candidate on the ballot, garnered 12,829 votes (4.17%). The Washington Post wrote a blurb on him yesterday which states that he likely pulled all or nearly all of his votes from Stevens.